trying to see the world with my ears
This is a delightful mixture of light Austen-like comedy of manners with a dash of P.G. Wodehouse mania. There is no bodice ripping, violence, or sex (but no gritty social realism or insight either,of course) -- just "happily ever after" written (and read) well enough for the listener to suspend disbelief.
Heyer's books have stood the test of time, while I don't think most chick lit will. If you are in need of distraction, may Heyer be as pleasant a discovery to you as she was to me. I think if you are new to this author (I am a relative newcomer but have zoomed though five novels in the last stress-filled month), then I think either "Frederica" or "Cotilion" is worth a chance download. (But warning, this stuff can be addictive -- when tired or tested, I keep thinking that I will download "just one more...")
...because so many of us keep reading them. I doubt I would be seen in public with this book, let alone admit how much I enjoyed it, but read (or listen) to Austen spin-offs I do, and Audible is, well, anonymous and filled wih other P&P compulsives.
This Darcy tumbles with maid servants, actually supervises work at Pemberly, carouses with former Cambridge classmate Lord Byron, and can be inconvenienced by too tight britches; however, he still is not as villianous as much of the male gentry of his day. He is, of course, set back on course by "a fine pair of brown eyes." While this version of Darcy is not a monk, his antics aren't, thankfully, detailed for us. Such attempts only stain the cult of P&P, and from these I abstain in memory of Austen's brave example of NOT cashing in on fallen women as was routine in novels of her time.
As P&P re-tellings go, this is good: more detailed than the similar novel "Darcy's Story;" not as humourous (but much better narrated) than the Pamela Aidan Darcy trilogy; not as smutty as others that go on to imagine the married life of the Darcys.
Also this Darcy hints of the broader world: the Regency, PM Percival, war with France, industrialization, etc. It details a bit more of servant life. Georgina is imagined in more detail, and even Mr Hurst has some character (though not a very good one).
The narrator affects a haughty upper crust tone which might not be to everyone's ear, so listen carefully to the sample.
Face it, if you're reading this review and you've read other Darcy novels, you want to read the present one anyway. If you haven't read any of the others, this is as good as any to start. You don't need to have memorized P&P to enjoy the novel, but it helps.
I'm still waiting for a P&P re-told entirely from the servants' perspective; either that or a self-help book for compulsive P&P readers.
This is a humorous, gentle well-written comedy of manners, nothing trite about it. There's no angst or violence or silly bodice ripping. Although a light read, it's still in touch with reality ( especailly that of "polite" prejudice of many kinds). The novel can say that you're never too old for love without sounding like a hallmark card. Reading this novel won't change your life, but it sure can brighten up a gloomy day or soothe the progress of a head cold. May the author write on and on. (Note if you dislike a Brit character who feels "assaulted by American vowels," this may not be for you - there are lots of pride and prejudices in all the lovely, flawed characters.)